Government Offices, Banks ,Public Schools Under Lock And Key As Kwara Workers Join National Strike, Demand Better Pay and Conditions   * Muslim pilgrims stranded, planes return empty to Saudi Arabia  * FG invites Labour for emergency meeting, Tuesday 

By Omowumi Omotosho



In solidarity with workers across Nigeria, Kwara State workers have embarked on a sit-at-home strike, grounding government offices, schools, courts, and other institutions in Ilorin and its environs.

Comrade Murtala Saheed-Olayinka, the Kwara State Coordinator of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), alongside the Trade Union Congress (TUC) led by Comrade Abdurahman Olayinka Onikigipa, mobilized their members to various strategic government ministries and boards within Kwara State.

The unions effectively shut down several key institutions, including state secretariat which houses the ministries, the courts, Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service( KW-IRS), public schools and the banks.

National Pilot checks ,however revealed that not all the banks within the metropolis complied with the strike action as some banks like Access, Zenith, Gtb and UBA were seen operating and attending to customers.

Speaking on the success recorded by the unions on the strike action, Comrade Saheed-Olayinka urged workers to continue supporting the nationwide strike, warning that Tuesday will be a tougher day in the state.

Speaking in Ilorin, Saheed-Olayinka announced that NLC and TUC will embark on strict picketing to deal with strike violators. “Tomorrow will be very tough. We will storm offices and punish violators, no matter their rank,” he said.

The state NLC chairman praised Kwara workers for their high level of compliance on the first day of the strike and urged the government to meet workers’ demands for improved wages. “Workers are tired of their take-home pay and need a better package to survive,” he said.


In response to claims that the union’s demand of 494,000 naira minimum wage is unrealistic, the labour leader said, “Those saying the Labour demand is not realistic are not in a position to make decisions. They are not in charge of the country’s economy. What about what our Senators, Honourables, and Governors are taking? The government should do the needful. The hikes and difficulty are uncalled for. If truly the government is representing our interest, they need to consider what we are facing. We want good welfare, the tariffs on phone bills and power should be reverted.”

Comrade Abdulrahman Onikijipa, Kwara TUC Chairman, in his own reaction, emphasized the unity between NLC and TUC in fighting for workers’ welfare. He advised the government to urgently intervene and pay workers a wage that reflects their sacrifices to the nation.


Onikijipa also cautioned NLC/TUC members to follow leadership directives and avoid taking matters into their own hands.

The strike continues tomorrow with heightened picketing efforts, aiming to pressure the government to address workers’ demands.

The nationwide strike was declared by the unions to compel the government to agree on a new minimum wage for workers and review the increase in the price of electricity for some consumers. Last week, the Nigerian Government’s proposal of a N60,000 minimum wage was turned down by Organised Labour, including the NLC and TUC.


Prominent members of the Tripartite Committee for the negotiation of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers revealed that the Federal Government and the Organised Private Sector side of the talks proposed a N60,000 monthly minimum wage as against the N57,000 they tabled two weeks ago when the committee resumed negotiations. Earlier government proposals of N48,000 and N54,000 were also dismissed by the unions.

Initially, the unions demanded a new minimum wage of N615,000 but recently reduced their request to N494,000, which the government is yet to agree with

FG invites Labour for emergency meeting Tuesday

Meanwhile, in a bid to stop the ongoing strike by organized labour, the Federal Government, through the National Salaries Wages and Income Commission, has extended an invitation to the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress.

However, it is not yet clear if the Labour leaders will attend the meeting.

Muslim pilgrims stranded as strike forces planes to return empty to Saudi Arabia

In a shocking turn of events, several planes sent to airlift Nigerian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage were forced to return empty to the Arabian peninsula due to an ongoing strike by organized labour.

The strike, which began on Monday, has already caused chaos and disrupted the travel plans of thousands of Muslim pilgrims.

According to reports, striking aviation workers at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, Yola International Airport, Aminu Kano International Airport, and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja physically blocked the planes’ paths and refused to allow them to depart with passengers, forcing the pilots to return the planes to Saudi Arabia empty.

Over 60,000 Nigerian pilgrims are currently stranded in Nigeria, unable to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage.

The pilgrims, who have been preparing for months for this sacred journey, are now facing uncertainty and frustration due to the strike.

Reacting to this development, Prof. Ishaq Akintola,Executive Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), said: “We urge the organized labour to consider the plight of thousands of Nigerian Muslims who are currently stranded due to the ongoing strike.

“We appeal to the NLC/TUC to call off the strike with immediate effect, to enable these pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage.

“The ongoing strike is causing confusion and hardship for Muslim faithfuls preparing for the Id al-Kabiir festival, and also poses a threat to the lives of Muslim pilgrims. We implore the NLC to consider the impact of their actions on these innocent citizens.

“If the strike continues, we call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to intervene and declare a state of emergency to rescue the country from this situation. We believe that a swift resolution is necessary to prevent further hardship and suffering for the pilgrims and the nation at large.”


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